Forced Deposits

WBDT Issues

Forced Deposits – Revised May 2000

Posted on: Monday, June 19, 2000 at 15:12:11 (CDT)

Forced Deposits Issue:
Should the legislature pass legislation to require consumers to pay a forced 5¢ or 10¢ container deposit on beverage containers?

Beverage container deposits were instituted in several states in the 1970’s to deal with litter. Nine states now require deposits, but no state has adopted a deposit system since 1983. Forced deposits are still being pushed by some as a solution to the much more complex solid waste problem, even though beer and soft drink containers make up less than 2.3 percent of municipal solid waste. A study done for the Texas Department of Highways and Public Transportation in 1991 concluded that “Littered beverage containers have declined 74% to the point where their rate is lower than that measured in states with deposit legislation.” In 1995, a litter study commissioned by the Texas Department of Transportation used differing methodologies from the previous studies, and according to TxDOT officials, offers no way to compare results with the previous studies; the 1995 study draws no conclusion nor does it pronounce any worsening of the highway litter problem. The 1995 study does recognize that enhanced volunteer efforts (Adopt-a-Highway, the Great Texas Trash-Off, and the most successful “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign) have significantly reduced litter across Texas.

Legislative History:
A forced deposit bill has been introduced in almost every legislative session since the late 1970’s. No committee has ever reported one of these bills.

WBDT Position:
WBDT strongly opposes forced deposits. Deposits have a negligible impact on solid waste while dramatically increasing industry costs and consumer costs and causing the loss of skilled jobs. Communities are now dealing with solid waste by turning to curbside recycling programs, but forced deposits harm recycling by taking the most valuable recyclables out of the waste stream. In past surveys, Texas has been shown to have less beverage container litter than some states which impose forced deposits.

Action Needed:
The Legislature should reject attempts to saddle the industry and consumers with outmoded beverage container deposit requirements.

WBDT Revised May/2000

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